Car Catcher: The Hagemann-Jaguar Special, a NorCal Racing Legend

Jaguar? Ferrari? No. The 1955 Hagemann-Jaguar Special is a one-off racer commissioned by Northern California’s Babe Sulprizio. Jack Hagemann formed the body, while Jaguar provided power.

And it’s for sale.

By early 1955,” the Fantasy Junction listing begins, “construction began using a welded tubular steel ladder frame with Jaguar Mark VII independent front suspension and longitudinal torsion bars up front, with a solid rear axle, longitudinal torsion bars, and a transverse link for the rear suspension.”

The original plan called for Chevy’s all-new 265-cubic-inch V8, but the local plant wouldn’t sell one. So Sulprizio moved to his second choice, a 302-inch GMC inline-six. 

Now the creation needed a body. “Sulprizio then loaded his chassis and hand sketches for delivery to expert body fabricator and legendary builder Jack Hagemann,” the listing continues. “After some discussions regarding the details and specifications, Hagemann formed the alloy body panels using traditional English Wheeling and hand panel shaping to build the unique body.” Sulprizio insisted that the car wear red, giving it a Ferrari look. 

That GMC engine failed at its first race, so an inline-six from a Jaguar XK120 was installed. Then the car changed hands a few times until purchased by the current owner 44 years ago.  

The car, now wearing deep green, has managed to keep busy, too, as it’s been to Monterey for the historics every year since 1976.

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dougie Reader
4/3/20 6:55 p.m.

I pitted across from this car while competing in the Rolex Monterey Historics a few years back. The owner was pretty causual about the car, I think he drove it to the track everyday, left it open and uncovered during a couple early morning rain showers as well. Jay Lenos chief mechanic and all around shop steward Bernard, drove this car to a RMMR first overall a few years ago also.

mjrj New Reader
4/3/20 11:18 p.m.

Honestly only posting because I recognize the name Hagemann.  I grew up in Livermore and went to the "rocket park" when I was a kid which was named Hagemann park.  As far as I know they've been in the tri-valley area for over 150 years.  GLWS!

4/6/20 12:53 p.m.

Second car designed and built by Babe Sulprizio. Also Jaguar powered


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